Wow! So much time has passed since my last post. I really miss connecting with you. Now that fall is here I, like many of you, am consumed with a busy work agenda, continuing education plans and life in general. This is not a complaint, but simply my way of acknowledging that summer is over, and I must yield to the tasks before me.
Even with its growing list of priorities, fall is still my favorite time of the year. I am more focused on my goals and dreams, and I approach each item on my list with a renewed sense of purpose. This is a season of great expectations, and rewards. I hold to the belief that with perseverance and dedication, everything will fall into place.
During the past few weeks New Yorkers concentrated on the September 10th Primary Elections. By all accounts we were absorbed with the challenges brought by unemployment, inadequate housing, an overtaxed transportation system, and inequities in our educational system. Equally important was the question, who will get the job done? This was especially true in Brooklyn where I am pleased to report the conversation was shaped by seven distinguished women of African-American and Caribbean descent: Letitia James, Olanike Alabi, Laurie Cumbo, Ede S. Fox, Kimberly Council, Sylvia Kinard and Sharon Thomas.
Letitia James, the esteemed Councilwoman from the 35th District, was one of two Democratic candidates for Public Advocate. She is a brilliant lawyer who also established the Urban Network, a coalition of minority organizations that raise funds for scholarships that are awarded to inner city youth. After the September 10th primary, she was in a runoff with Dennis Squadron, the second Democratic contender. We are pleased to report that Ms. James’ has successfully secured the nomination. Her decision to enter this race has paved the way for three Brooklyn women – Olanike Alabi, Laurie Cumbo and Ede S. Fox – to compete for opportunity to continue her distinguished legacy of service.
Olanike Alabi is a dedicated public activist who has served as State Committeewoman (District Leader) of Brooklyn’s 57th A.D. She was also a Legislative Assistant to a member of the New York City Council and District Manager of Community Board #2. Her affiliations include: the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, Church Women United, Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry, Community Advisory Board of the Cumberland Diagnostic & Treatment Center and Emmanuel Baptist Church.
We salute Ms. Alabi for her dedication and commitment to the issues, and to the residents of Brooklyn 35th District.
Laurie Cumbo is an esteemed business woman, college educator and the founder and Executive Director of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). Her affiliations include: ARTTABLE, the American Association of Museums, the National Alliance of African and African-American Art Support Groups, the Cultural Equity Group, the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance and the Spelman College Alumni Association.
We salute Ms. Cumbo for her role in revitalizing Brooklyn’s art and business community and we congratulate her for winning the democratic nomination for Council Representative.
Ede S. Fox is a tireless voice for the people of Brooklyn with more than six years’ experience in the New York City Council. She was also Chief of Staff and Legislative and Budget Director for one of the city’s largest healthcare workers union. Her organizational affiliations include: Brooklyn Community Board 8 Member and Chair of the Environmental/Sanitation committee; President of the Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
We salute Ms. Fox for being a consummate professional, and for her strong voice in New York’s City Council.
Kimberly Council, a committed advocate for the residents of East New York, is the only woman and the only person of African-American and Caribbean descent, to enter the race for Council Representative of the 37th District. She served as Vice President of the East New York Housing Development Corporation, where she was instrumental in securing more than 200 units of affordable housing for the residents of East New York. Her organizational affiliations include: American Association of Law Librarians, Local Development Corporation of East New York, East New York Housing Development Corporation, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and an Associate Minister with Berean Baptist Church. Ms. Council had a strong showing and finished second to Rafael Espinal.
We salute Ms. Council on running a great race and for representing women of African American and Caribbean descent with excellence and grace.
In the 40th City Council District, which includes my neighborhood, Prospect Lefferts Garden in Flatbush, it was great to see Sylvia G. Kinard and Saundra Thomas lead the discussion for our community.
Sylvia Kinard is the Chief Diversity Officer at Medgar Evers College. She is also a distinguished lawyer who has also worked as a Senior Legislative Attorney for the New York City Council and, as Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Counsel for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. She was also served as a Vice President for Community School Board 13.
Her organizational affiliations include: Metropolitan Black Bar Association, New York Women in Film and Television, Church Women United and Brown Memorial Baptist Church.
We salute Ms. Kinard for her keen vision and for her many years of leadership at Medgar Evers College.
Sharon Thomas is Vice President for Community Affairs at WABC TV, a role she has held for more than a decade. In this position, she works to ensure that grassroots non-profit organizations receive much-needed funds, and exposure, for their mission and programs. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from St. Francis College, in Brooklyn Heights. Her organizational affiliations include: Dancewave, Council for Unity, New York Women in Communications Foundation, Grace Institute and Services for the Underserved.
We salute Dr. Thomas for her unwavering support of non-profit organizations in Brooklyn. Her leadership has helped many grassroots organization thrive.
While Ms. Kinard and Dr. Thomas were unsuccessful in their bid against incumbent Dr. Mathieu Eugene, we have no doubt that these two distinguished women will continue to serve as strong leaders for Brooklyn’s 40th District.
In each race there can only be one frontrunner, but each woman highlighted in today’s post is a winner in her own right. With great expectations, each candidate has boldly pursued her dream of helping residents like you and me, find our voice in Brooklyn’s political landscape. We look forward to more from each woman in the future.
As for Letitia James and Laurie Cumbo, we can truly say that everything is indeed falling into place. We look forward to celebrating them on November 5th.
Photo of Letitia James – Wikipedia.org
Photo of Olanike Alabi – The New York Times
Photo of Laurie Cumbo – New York Daily News
Photo of Ede S. Fox – Vimeo.com
Photo of Kimberly Council – New York Daily News
Photo of Sylvia Kinard – Politicker.com
Photo of Sharon Thomas – New York Daily News